Lot 64: John Byam Liston Shaw RI ARWS (1872-1919) The
The Collection of Peter & Renate Nahum
February 24, 2009
Newbury, United Kingdom
Description: John Byam Liston Shaw RI ARWS (1872-1919) The caged bird Oil on canvas Signed and dated 1907 lower left 90cm x 70cm Provenance: Glen Byam Shaw, the artist's son; Mrs R. O. Warren 1932 Christie's London, 23rd March 1984, lot 67 Exhibited: The New Gallery, London, 1907; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Byam Shaw, 1986 No. 27; Peter Nahum at The Leicester Galleries, The Brotherhood of Ruralists and the Pre-Raphaelites, June-July 2005 Literature:Pall Mall Gazette Extra, May 1907, Page 118; Rex Vicat Cole, The Art & Life of Byam Shaw, Seeley Service & Co, London & J. B. Lippincott company, Philadelphia, 1932 Pages 142, 147-9, illustrated page 148; Peyton Skipworth, Connoisseur, March 1976, page 196; Gerald Taylor, Byam Shaw 1872-1919, The Ashmolean Museum Oxford, 1986. No. 27 (illustrated) Byam Shaw carried the torch of Pre-Raphaelitism across the turn of the century, a period when books and exhibitions had renewed interest in the Brotherhood's work. In his paintings he revived the Brotherhood's use of bright, pure glazes and restated their belief of the importance of truth and sincerity in art. Moreover, he turned to literature and history for inspiration. In The Caged Bird, Shaw uses allegory to the same purpose as William Hunt's 'The Awakening Conscience'. The caged bird is literally released, whilst the girl herself will never be free to follow her heart. As the youngest daughter, her duties lie with her ageing parents. The startling clarity and gaiety of the colours set in the old garden at Condover Hall in Shropshire are in sharp contrast to the sobering reality of her situation. The model for the painting was Maud Tindal Atkinson, an artist pupil who exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1907, from whom he painted a life-size watercolour which hung at the Royal Academy in 1906. The symbolism of the release of a caged bird in 17th century Dutch painting signified the loss of virginity of the owner. As Maud was his favourite pupil, it would seem apparent the this hidden meaning was not lost on the artist.
Condition Report: Relined, very slight shrinkage to areas of background, no obvious retouching under UV light